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Skid Steer Prices Slip

I love auctions. That may seem to be a given considering that part of my job involves attending auctions so I can write articles as well as deliver the “Steel Deals” reports on the Successful Farming Show. Truth be told, that reporting part of attending auctions is work. When I do those television spots, it really is a job. Really. 

I’ll admit I do not allow work to get in the way of appreciating a good auction, though. So the first time I attended a Ritchie Brothers auction, I was enamored with the row after row after row of construction equipment and the lines of farm iron on display.

Ritchie Brothers got a start in the auction business 59 years ago reselling construction equipment. Today, the company is the largest industrial auctioning service in the world, with a sale going on somewhere around the globe almost every day.

When you attend a Ritchie Brothers agricultural auction, there is certain to be a very healthy amount of construction gear up for sale at the same time. The variety of equipment is staggering. From monstrous cranes to massive excavators to esoteric implements like rock slingers – they were all at a Ritchie Brothers auction last fall. 

While pondering why I might need a machine to sling rocks, I discovered a row of seven Bobcat S650s up for sale. The amazing part was that they were all 2013 models, were equipped identically, and had racked up between 1,643 and 1,978 hours.

The reason I got excited about these identical machines is that their sale would provide me bedrock pricing intelligence on midsize skid steers. When preparing these “Machinery Insider” reports, I strive to uncover groupings of similar equipment to derive solid price analysis. So to find a septuplet of anything gets me worked up.

they all went for $18,000

The bidding on the batch of S650s was swift, with all seven machines going to a single contractor for $18,000 each. Keep in mind that these were plain-Jane loaders only equipped with a canopy, bucket, and one auxiliary hydraulic outlet. No cab with air conditioning, high-flow hydraulics, joystick controls, or two-speed transmissions were included. So that $18,000 provided a solid bottom-line bidding value.

A year ago at this time, skid steer loaders were a hot commodity. Business was booming for construction companies and landscape contractors who took to auctions to reequip. To track what was happening to skid steer prices since then, I searched for similarly equipped 3- and 4-year-old skid steers with hours comparable to the S650 septuplets. I found that similar plain-Jane S650s were consistently selling from $20,500 up to $26,500. Better equipped loaders were going for between $23,100 and $29,500.

This indicated that the values for low- to mid-hour Bobcat S650s had softened in the latter part of 2016. Further research found like trends for similar-size loaders such as Case SV250, Caterpillar 252B, John Deere 326E, and New Holland L225. This Pocket Price Guide provides you a snapshot of recent sales of these and similar skid steer makes.

Take a close look at the differences in hours and specifications with this listing to help you arrive at either a selling or buying price if you are currently in the loader market. Five particular features that immediately add value to loaders are an air-conditioned cab, heavy-duty bucket, high-flow hydraulics, joystick control, and two-speed transmission. 

What’s the price difference for tracks? 

Comparing auction prices for tracked vs. wheeled skid steer loaders of the same horsepower is a challenge if only for the fact that tracked loaders often are better equipped. On the other hand, tracked machines have one major drawback in that replacing their tracks and undercarriage components is a bit more expensive than buying new tires. All things being equal regarding age (3 to 5 years old) and use (under 2,500 hours), a tracked loader will sell for $7,500 to $17,000 more than a wheeled machine. That price difference, however, definitely tends to level out when it comes to older machines (7 years old or older) with a lot of hours (4,000+) that have run on hard surfaces, resulting in more track and undercarriage wear. 

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